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Dr. Robert Rice

O n t h e O c c a s i o n of H i s R et i r e m e n t i n 2 0 1 3

I think I have the distinction of meeting you first and showing you some hospitality when you first came to Christendom. I remember vividly how lovingly you spoke of your beautiful wife, Mary Alice, and how much I looked forward to meeting her. Now, 32 years later, we are together, as colleagues and neighbors. We have weathered a few bumps in the road, and I will be forever grateful for your hiring me and having faith in me. Your generosity as professional, sharing notes and handouts and insights, has been so edifying, and yours and Mary Alice’s kindness as a friend to me and my children has been precious to me. As all of these tributes testify, you and your beautiful wife have been integral to the heart and soul of Christendom College, and though you may be retiring from active duty, you will remain very much a part of the life of the College, now and for years to come. With love and deep gratitude, -Sharon

It is a great joy to be able to take some time out and remember how LONG it’s been since we were “freshmen together”! I remember helping clear the first trail (before it was given as punishment), listening to Middle English in your home, which you and Mary Alice so often opened up to us students, and celebrating Oktoberfest (you were the only one with authentic gear). I still remember how much I loved your Shakespeare class, and have remembered it every time I’ve helped direct a summer play. Oh, and I think it was my fault that you were practically tackled by Tom Furtado that first year, when we were in the habit of doing P.H.D.’s (public humiliation demonstrations); at least that means I won that time! You’ve always had such enthusiasm for the Faith and for Christendom! Thank you for teaching all of us, and our children too! With gratitude, Holly McShurley ’85

Thank you so much for contributing to both the Christendom community and my personal experience as an English major. It was clear to see your love for “The Bard” in the Shakespeare course I took with you and I appreciated the enthusiasm you showed for his work. I’m very lucky to have been able to be in the last class you taught at Christendom and I’m thankful I could share that with you. Thank you Dr. Rice! -Maeve Gallagher ‘14

After graduating from Christendom with an English major, how can I imagine the college without Dr. Rice? From Medieval Literature to the Metaphysical Poets, from Dante to Homer, I only wish I could remember everything he taught me. Thank you, Dr. Rice, for instructing us about hospitality as an important theme in the Odyssey, and then showing us hospitality time and time again in your own home; thank you for teaching me the sound of Old English and the beauties of Wagner’s melodies; thank you for encouraging my interest in literature and for inspiring me with your own enthusiasm. Christendom will never be the same without you! May God bless you and your family. -Marisa (White) Pierson ‘06

Dr. Rice was so kind to me when I came to Christendom (about the same time he did) and felt overwhelmed that I would never be able to graduate. I vividly remember Dr. Rice encouraging me and promising that he would personally help me get through each semester and tutor me in anyway he could. Although somehow I got through without failing, I know it was Dr. Rice’s ( and other professors) encouragement that gave me the confidence I needed. I have such fond memories of the “good old days” and all the fun and camaraderie we shared in the early days of the campus. I would not have traded it for the world!!! Thank you Dr. Rice. I love you and enjoy retirement you surely deserve! -Marguerite (O’Connor) Harrington ’85

The college will seem so different with Dr. Rice retiring. Doesn’t he come with the furniture? I remember being first truly exposed to poetry in his class. I could never read it as well as he did, but he helped me to appreciate the art of poetry. A fond memory is of trailblazing the paths through the woods behind Campion. He was always in front with his walking stick and we would clear new trails which students have been enjoying for years. I spent a lovely Thanksgiving at Dr. and Mrs. Rice’s house along with several other students who remained on campus during the break. The professors were always so good to the students and made sure everyone had a place to go for a holiday supper. Dr. Rice deserves a nice break in retirement, but the college will be loosing a solid professor. I appreciate his dedication to the college and to all the students who have attended throughout the years. -Laura Charba

One of my favorite classes at Christendom was Dr. Rice’s Shakespeare’s Histories and Tragedies. He made the works come to life and helped increase my understanding of the life and times of the Bard. Especially amazing was the hospitality and personal attention he gave to our class—inviting us to his home to watch some performances of the plays that we read and even giving us the opportunity to reenact scenes from Shakespeare for extra credit. It was a blast! I’ll never forget killing Desdemona on his living room couch! :) Thank you, Dr. Rice, for the wisdom you’ve shared with us, your students, and the dedication you’ve shown to us and the entire college community. Eins, zwei, Drei g’suffa!

-Niall O’Donnell

Here are a few thoughts and memories concerning our esteemed colleague: 1) Receiving initial correspondence from him after I first applied for this job. His letter was so gracious and personal that I felt I might be right at home here at Christendom. 2) Taking a tour of the campus when I interviewed here and noting how he could tell you what each building used to be and when each tree was planted. This place is part of his life’s work, and he has as a result shaped many lives through it. 3) Seeing him one day in Mass make the sign of the cross so reverently and thoughtfully that it made me reflect upon the importance of being the best example possible to all those around me. 4) Recalling how the students one day piled snow around his front door in an effort to make him miss class. Undeterred, he left through a window! (At least, that’s my recollection of events!) 5) Being surprised that someone so smart could nevertheless have such a wonderful sense of humor! Here’s a Robert Rice joke that he told my class this year when he spoke to them about Beowulf and Old English. I intend to tell it to my 102 students every year: “Grendel’s tastes are rather plainish; / For breakfast just a little Danish!” 6) Feeling so appreciative that he and Mary Alice looked up the information from the funeral home when my father died and left a very sweet note about him in the online guestbook. 7) Receiving some of his books when he retired. Last year I was teaching 201 after not having taught it for some time, and a number of our editions had changed. He gave me a whole stack of his books, and I remember being shocked at the thought he would never need them again for a class here. It all seems so final. In some ways he is like an intellectual and spiritual father to all of us. He will be sorely missed. 8) Reflecting upon the fact that many of the people who work here owe a huge debt to Dr. Robert Rice. Many of us were hired by him directly; others who will come along later will be hired by the people he hired. He has thus left an indelible mark upon the place.

I would just like to thank Dr. Rice for all he has done for the college, its students, its faculty, and me and my family. May God bless him and his family in this next phase of his life! -Lisa Marciano

Dr. Robert Rice has inspired generations of Christendom students in their pursuit of beauty, truth, and goodness, not to mention generations of his faculty colleagues as well. Over the many years that I have been privileged to know him and his lovely wife Mary Alice, I have looked up to Dr. Rice as an exemplary leader and a lover of wisdom, who has given his whole life to the service of the Western intellectual tradition. I pray that he enjoys some well-earned leisure in his retirement, and that he will frequently be present among us throughout the coming years. -Brendan McGuire

I remember walking with Amy Norris through all of the trails one day behind the college long before all the other improvements were made and she pointed out one trail after another trail that she as a student and Robert blazed together. I also remember upon joining the library staff how the rest of the staff praised Robert time and again for his great support of the library. He and Mary Alice were most kind to me after Tom died as were much of the rest of the college community, but at one function when I guess I felt a bit out of place I remarked about it, and Robert said to me, “well, your life is changed now� and that really meant something to me for some reason. Maybe it was that I needed to hear that particular comment. :-) I have always enjoyed his coming into the circulation room to run off his things for classes and his manner and senatorial voice reminded me either of Gregory Peck or my cousin Tom Eigel. :-) -Mickey Krebs

One thing that stands out in my mind is: the ONLY reason we got the extraordinarily beautiful and increasingly useful (to the curriculum) St. John the Evangelist Library here at C’dom (in 2004) is that Herr Doktor R. C. Rice patiently and perseveringly screamed for it at College Council and everywhere else his 20 or so years a Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA)!!!! Without HIM it probably would never have happened (or we would probably still be waiting for it!) -Andrew Armstrong

I had Dr. Rice for my first semester of college English. What most stands out in my memory is his enthusiasm for the course material. Dr. Rice had high standards and high hopes that we students would perform at a level of excellence. I will forever be grateful for his unselfish devotion to the students and the broader college community. -John Cuddeback

I never had Dr. Rice as a teacher during my time at Christendom, but he always reached out to say hello or smile as I passed by on one of the many sidewalks of Christendom or in rows of chairs and tables in the Commons. Dr. Rice’s singing during Oktoberfest and his jolly laugh still ring in my ears. I can still see him walking on a sunny evening around the campus with Mrs. Rice, soaking up the beauty and taking time to relax with his wife, despite his very busy schedule. His all around welcoming and loving demeanor will always have a special place in my heart as a part of my wonderful experience of Christendom. -Lauren Merz

I’m afraid you have spoiled me terribly. One semester, I audited your Dostoyevsky elective, which had fewer than 10 students and was located in the downstairs room of your house. As we discussed the great Russian’s complex characters (with greater or lesser perspicacity, depending on how many hundred pages we completed of the reading . . . ), I fell in love with an author and with a style of teaching. Lively debates and equally passionate exchanges praising our favorite characters and plot turns made each student look forward to our weekly meetings. When I first moved on to teach at a college preparatory academy, I sent you an e-mail asking for resources for Old & Middle English. A lesser teacher may have ignored an old student’s e-mail or slid in a comment about how I eschewed all your upper level classes on those topics. But, you’ve always shown more faith in me than I’ve had in myself. The very helpful resources you directed me towards led me (and several classes of students) to fall in love with Chaucer (in the original) and Beowulf. I wish I could send you the papers of a few of my students on the “Dream of the Rood” and Beowulf. They were far beyond what most high schoolers ever accomplish. You also sent me all your notes on Hamlet when I asked for one lost handout on the identity of the ghost. My Shakespeare elective became a popular class, in which I was able to spend a whole 8 weeks just on Hamlet. The students loved the ghost debate, and continued on to study the Bard on their own after the class was over. You asked me candidly once if I felt that Christendom prepared me adequately for my work as a college preparatory instructor. At the time, I was struggling to discern that myself, so I don’t believe I responded at all. I occasionally felt that I wished I had known to attend literary conferences at DC universities and had read and written more papers at the graduate level. But, after four years of researching from university libraries and writing and teaching for my classes, I realized that I did have all the skills necessary to do independent graduate level work. I had learned to look at a primary source, research something of its context, and look for my own insights. Thankfully, as an English major, I had not become a scrap bag of other people’s opinions and half-baked examinations of non-essentials in a text. Receiving thoughtful feedback on my papers in college and having teachers, like yourself, who believed in my ability to say something valid and insightful about a text . . . these experiences guided and formed my mind and gave me a quiver-full of tools to use in my long-range endeavors.

I have four years of students, many of whom can speak and write more elegantly about literature than the average college graduate. I applied to write a short paper for a conference at Notre Dame University last spring; and instead, I was invited to be one of their main papers for the conference. I spoke on “Hyper-Vulnerability and Hypo-Vulnerability: Disordered Female Orientations, Empathetic Friendship, and Jane Austen’s Heroines.” Currently, I’m writing a non-fiction book for young women on Christian living. Honestly, I’m not certain I would have done any of these things without a teacher who truly loved literature (and Turabian) and without discussions over tea and your wife’s famous molasses cookies. So, thank you for your faith in me as a young critic and for your consistency and personal attention to your students. I think as teachers our greatest joy is in the development of our students. You now have “generations” of students who have benefited from your instruction. As a final example, I leave you with a humorous facebook message I received today from one of my own graduates: “So this girl in my ENG 101 class wrote on Metamorphosis by Kafka, and she was telling us how it is a book about a guy who becomes a bug ‘because he wants to identify with the world of nature around him’ and she argued that Kafka was trying to tell us to be green with our ways because the animals are being ignored and innocent bugs are dying....I about died. I was like oh honey child I think he is talking about the disconnect between mind and body or limits of sympathy or just looking at how value and money is used… something a little deeper then go green, and she just looked at me.” There is no way before Christendom that I would have read Kafka willingly (and sought to understand him), and I could say the same for this student. But you helped me learn to find the good, the true, and the beautiful wherever I could. May God bless you in return for the many ways you have blessed me and others. -Kelly (Mulhern) Henson ’06

During my years at Christendom (2001-2005), I knew Dr. Rice both as a marvelous professor and a welcoming host, having spent several Thanksgivings and many movie nights at his home on Berbusse Lane. Having been a theology major, I still haven’t quite figured out why I took Dr. Rice’s Old English class during my senior year. But despite my lamentable and remarkable indifference to English literature old and new, as the retiring Christendom Trailblazer well knows, I offer the following advice to current Christendom students: Be nice to your professors and do well in your studies, for you never know if one of them might one day become your father-in-law. -David Wallace

My favorite memory of Dr. Rice comes from the time we were studying the Greek tragedies. My mind had begun to multitask, reviewing the highlights (no doubt) of an unparalleled O’Donnell class from earlier in the week, and subsequently my attention was diverted away from the immediate topic at hand. It jolted back to attention, however, as I witnessed, with my own two eyes, Dr. Rice doing a jig from one side of the classroom to the other, demonstrating the typical performance of a Greek theatrical chorus. -Matt Rensch I remember being at an event at the St. Lawrence Commons years ago, and Dr. Rice came back into the kitchen to help out. No one knew. He got no recognition. He genuinely just wanted to help. I was so moved by his selflessness. I have never forgotten that about Dr. Rice. -Valerie Clark

“One word: gemütlichkeit. Dr. Rice, thank you for all the hard work you have done for us students and for the beauty and antiquity of the English Language. Cheers!” -Josepha Bertolini

May God bless you as you begin your retirement! You are such a part of Christendom that I cannot imagine the College without you. You have given so much of yourself, not only in the classes you taught, but your presence in every aspect of student life. Your influence helped to build the Catholic culture of Christendom College that touched the lives of so many students throughout the past thirty-five years. Thank you for your years of service and dedication! -Ellen (Storey) Kelly ‘94

Dr. Rice, I will never forget your English 201 and 202 classes, but most of all I will never forget the way you opened your home to those of us who were far from home on Thanksgiving, and threw Hersheys chocolates at us in class on Valentines Day. -Jenny McGuire, Class of 2002

Congratulations on your retirement. Thank you (and Mrs Rice) for all your support for the Criste Family during our College years and even more importantly during our “family” years. Your kindness will not be forgotten! May God bless you abundantly! -Vince (‘98) and Barbara (‘95) Criste and family Kateri, Anthony, Bernadette, Juliana, Dominic, Gemma, Andre and John

I will forever remember Dr. Rice and his friendly smile! -Leah Coffey

I remember Dr. Rice’s great passion for Beowulf and how he loved to recite lines in Old English! -Brittany (Smith) Saibini, Class of ‘05

There are so many things I could say about Dr. Rice I hardly know where to start! I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to study under him. I am especially grateful that I had the chance to study Medieval English liturature and a bit of the Old English language. His wise guidence of my thesis on Tolkien has had a lasting influence on my philosophy of life. But most of all, I will always remember his kindness. I remember how students, especially students who were stuck on campus over breaks, enjoyed the hospitality of the Rices. I know my niece, Rosemary Hedge, is enjoying that same hospitality while she is at Christendom. Of course, no testimony to Dr. Rice would be complete without a mention of Kate Turabian. As much as I hated doing those footnotes, it sure came in handy when I was working as an editor. And people still come to me for advise on doing footnotes! -Mary Susann Wake

Thank you for your years of service to Christendom College. I still consider English 301 to be one of the best classes that I had at Christendom. I just loved how you tied together everything we had learned in the core curriculum through the literature that we studied that semester. I still remember how you brought us candy kisses on St. Nicholas’ Day. As an alum, I have appreciated how welcoming and friendly you have been through the years when I have seen you, and I always enjoy your updates and pictures on Facebook. I hope you enjoy your retirement - it is well-deserved! God bless you! -Mary (McFadden) Brand (‘98)

Dr. Rice was such a blessing for not only Christendom, but also for the students who were close to him. He truly became like a second grandfather to me and my sisters, and will always hold a very special place in our hearts. His generosity and welcoming heart will be greatly missed, and his constant faith and willingness to share his knowledge has been a true gift to the College. We love you, Dr. Rice! -Elizabeth Sartor

I bookend my time at Christendom with my two semesters under Dr. Rice, once as a freshman and once as a senior. Our class periods discussing Dante and Shakespeare will always be among favorite college memories. His enthusiasm for literature and his willingness to help students read and write has inspired me more than words can say (not easy for an English major to admit!). Thank you so much for enriching our minds and our lives, Dr. Rice! -Cate Thomas

When I was experiencing financial difficulties, Dr. Rice had the kindness to provide some extra work for me off campus - it included vacuuming and dusting his library. He sure had a LOT of books! Thank you, Dr. Rice, for helping me to finish those 4 wonderful years at Christendom. -Mary Claire (Almeter) Hayes ‘97 Thank you, Robert, for your many, many tireless trailblazing years here at Christendom and for your dedication to and love for the students throughout that time. And for letting me stand up in class if I got drowsy after lunch during Early Christian Literature class. -Walter Janaro

Ironically enough, I never took any of Dr. Rice’s classes. My favorite memory belongs to my Campus Visit before I even knew if I had been accepted. I attended a class where Dr. Rice was enthusiastically speaking about “Othello.” I have always been interested in Shakespeare and loved eating up new perspectives on a well-known play and also felt supported to share my own interpretations with the class. I still remember staying after class to continue speaking with him. I know that Dr. Rice (and the way he welcomed a young visitor) greatly influenced my decision to attend Christendom the following Fall. Thank you, Dr. Rice! I only wish I would have taken a class or two with you... :) -Bethany (Zuniga) Rogers

Throughout our time at Christendom, you and Mrs. Rice have been like relatives to us, opening your kitchen for our baking projects, welcoming us to stay in your spare bedroom when coming to or from Rome, supporting us as we participated or performed in Christendom events...the list could go on! It has been a JOY getting to know you, and you will always hold a special place in our hearts. -Sarah and Veronica Halbur

Your teaching of “Heart of Darkness”, “The Wasteland” and “Crime and Punishment” I will never forget. I taught these texts this year to high schoolers and your class had made such an impression that all the wealth of interpretation you gave us came right back to me. To this I am indebted. But to a much deeper degree, I owe you the love of literature which you strengthened in me. Thank you for all your years of sacrifice and hard work at a Small College. -Elizabeth Black ‘07

While studying Spring semester in Rome my junior year we had to decide on our classes and register via email. Well, the night before registering I happened to have had a bit too much wine with my pasta dinner and got rather silly and with limited use of faculities. Instead of doing anything scandalous or harmful to my soul, I made a life-changing decision: I decided to take Old English with Dad. And not only did I just register for it, I told Dad I registered for it. I’m pretty sure I made his life. After a good night’s sleep, this history major woke up and remembered that she had told Dad she would take Old English. Yet, I felt there was no way I could go back on my decision, for I had made Dad so proud. So, as a gift to you, Dad, to prove that I do love you, I took Old English. And I don’t think I did half bad. :) Hwaet! Love you, Dad. -Elizabeth Rice

Dr. Rice was the one professor for whom I snuck into a class just to hear his speaking voice. I never had the opportunity to enroll in one of his classes, but one day during my first year, I heard that he would be reciting Old English in one of his sections. This was an opportunity not to be missed according to the upperclassmen, and so, I loitered at the door of the classroom, saw an empty seat at the back, and made my move. Next thing I knew, a flood of rolling verse in a deep brogue of antiquity swept through the room...and I realized that books should come with an automatic “Dr. Rice narration” button; Over the next few years, I had the privilege of getting to know the man behind the “Viking-mixed-with-Sean Connery” voice, and as a guest for an epic Rice Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure to experience firsthand the kindness with which he and his wife treated all the students, staff and faculty of Christendom. He will be sorely missed as a professor, but I have no doubt his influence will continue to be felt on the campus and in the surrounding community for years to come!” -Greg Monroe

Thank you, Dr. Rice! I will always be grateful for the privilege of having you as a professor and mentor. I know that my college experience was enhanced because of you! You will always be in my thoughts and prayers! Theresa King. P.S. Thank you for compiling the Vade Mecum! I never would have made it past my first paper without it :) -Theresa King

I will never forget how welcoming Dr. Rice was to me when I was a student, and how often he would stop to say hello when we passed each other, and share a story about his experiences or other Christendom lore. His care and devotion to his students was always apparent, and 201 English Literature with him was the most enjoyable literature class I took while at Christendom. God bless you! -Christine Nussio (‘12)

As an English major, I had the pleasure of having Dr. Rice for most of my English classes and I have him to thank for developing in me a true love for literature. My husband and I were so blessed to have Dr. Rice attend our wedding and we always look forward to seeing Dr. Rice at homecoming and around Front Royal when we come visit. Thank you Dr. Rice for all you have done for us and Christendom College, you will truly be missed! We love you! God Bless you! -Katie Scrivener

While living in St. Teresa Hall, next door to you and your family, I would often participate in the Shield of Roses on Saturday mornings. I would sleepily drag myself across campus to the van, and many times I would often pass you along the way as I was either going to or coming from the event. I was usually carrying a giant sign that said “Former Fetus” with an arrow pointing to myself, and you would smile, wave, and always say “It’s good to know a former fetus!” So from one former fetus to another, thanks for all your dedication over the years! I hope you have the best, most fulfilling and most deserved of retirements! Cherish every moment and God bless! -Kim DeLozier

For all the days of reading lore,
 For hearing words ne’er heard before,
 For helping us all expand our word-hoard,
 (With stuff such’s “runisch,” and “hwæt,” my lord)
 And more especially, grateful we
 Are for glorious pronunciation, you see,
 Of the English tongue from old. Ebullient and herzlichen Dank. Can’t imagine Christendom or English 201 without you! -Gloria Connolly

Story number 1: Shortly after I arrived and began teaching at Christendom, I happened to go watch a Clint Eastwood western at the local cinema in town. Then on Monday, I ran into Robert, who asked me how my weekend had been. Not knowing him very well yet, I happened tomention that I had gone to the Clint Eastwood movie (among other things). For all I knew, he might be someone who did not approve of movies (not true of course, as I came to learn). I then added, dryly, that I had NOT seen “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the other movie appearing at the theater. At this, Robert said, “Oh, Mary Alice and I saw that one and found it very amusing!” After that reaction, I knew right away that I was going to like this guy! Story number 2: My first year at the college was rough in some ways. For one thing, I was teaching the sophomore class, and the false rumor had gotten out that I had replaced the extremely popular teacher that they all had as freshmen (not true, but you know how rumors are). Believing this, some of those sophomores decided to take it out on me by giving me the silent treatment at times, making a point of not answering questions I might ask, etc. Robert Rice and Tim could not have been kinder in talking to me, giving me encouragement in the midst of any problems, and generally telling me to hang in there. Things did get better and . . . well . . . twenty years later, I’m still here. Story number 3: From time to time, in doing the plays at the college we have had fun with letting teachers and other well known “celebrities” do cameo performances. Mickey Krebs, for example! Robert did one of the most memorable of all cameos, playing a Victorian policeman in OLIVER! So good was he in the role, that we invested a full costume---coat, pants, helmet, and club---to enhance his excellent performance! Story number 4: If ever I have occasion to talk about specific examples of Xinia---the Greek word for Hospitality---Robert and Mary Alice provide me with a favorite example. Not only do they always entertain a number of students (unable to go home) for Thanksgiving dinner. But also, one thinks of all the other gracious ways in which they welcome and entertain students and friends: dinner, movie nights, the English Department parties for many years, and countless other examples. -Pat Keats

As you retire from your academic affairs at Christendom I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for all you did for me at CC. I will never forget how much you helped me to learn how to study seriously. After flunking Metaphysics class and and risking to flunk again, I was taken to the Academic Dean which was you. I recall you handed me a schedule to fill out with study time, recreation time, etc. I proudly showed up the next day with my eight hours of weekly study and you were astounded and exclaimed: “Eight hours a WEEK! You have to study eight hours a DAY!!” And thanks to God’s grace and your patience, I was able to make it. And not only that, but acquired good working habits I lacked. I also appreciate the hospitality and friendship you and Mary Alice offered me. I recall many happy memories with both of you at CC, as well as the joy of hearing from you during Christmas for many years while at home in Costa Rica. Thanks for taking the time to spend with us, Dr. Rice! God bless you and all your family. -Lorena Echeverria, class of ‘90

Christendom College and the English Department won’t be the same without you. Thank you for all you’ve done for the students (especially those of us who were English majors!) and the college. Thank you for sharing your love of literature with us and for being kind and caring. May God bless you always. -Mary Catherine Pegis

I will always be so thankful to Dr. Rice for opening wide the fascinating world of Anglo Saxon and Middle English to me during my time at Christendom. As my thesis director, I particularly remember how encouraging he was. Thank you, Dr. Rice, for your many years of teaching as well as your kindness and hospitality to your students! -Elizabeth McDevitt Butina (Class of ‘03)

In 1999, when I was still a freshman in high school, my parents and I visited Christendom on our way back from dropping my older sister off at Franciscan University. Though at the time I was convinced that I would be attending Franciscan University too, Dr. Rice introduced himself to us, sat next to us at lunch, and made us feel so at home. The kindness he showed to me and my parents was one of the reasons that I decided to attend Christendom. Thank you, Dr. Rice, for your amazing work, in the classroom, and also outside of it, even at lunch in the Commons! -Emily (Griswold) Sparks, Class of 2007

I was terrified of Dr. Rice when I first arrived at Christendom. His wisdom and scholarship were quite intimidating to me. I avoided taking his classes because I just knew I would be chewed-up and spit-out. Then, I ended up becoming an English major and realized it was inevitable. So, I dove into Dr. Rice’s Chaucer class and was shocked that he took such tender care with each of us. I even got a B on my first paper for him. I was in awe of his gentleness and love for the subject. When I was a first semester Junior, the Rome program began and I wanted to go more badly than I could express. I had taken a semester off and was only able to go that first semester. It was Rome in the fall or not at all. But when I went to Dr. Rice (my adviser to arrange it he told me I had to have my sequences to get my degree and if I went to Rome I couldn’t get them in without taking an extra semester; even then I might not be able to get them because the same sequences would not be offered. I was crushed. I had thought that, perhaps, the very reason for my having had to take a semester off was so that I would be able to go to Rome and now Dr. Rice had, with one or two very logical and authoritative sentences, crushed my hopes. In desperation I went to another professor to ask if he would do a directed study with me so I could get at least one of my sequences. I should have gone to Dr. Rice directly, but I was still not fully convinced of his mercy and kindness. This professor said he was unable to do any directed study and I would have to go to Dr. Rice anyway. I don’t remember what I said in answer to this, but it must have been something implying that Dr. Rice wouldn’t do anything for me because he didn’t care to. I don’t remember my words, but I remember the professor’s answer to me. He paused and then said, “Jamie, Dr. Rice is a very holy man.” I nearly burst into tears of shame and right then and there. I think I managed to hold my composure until leaving that professor, but as I walked away from that meeting, my tears burning my eyes and those words kept repeating in my head. I prayed. I made peace with the fact that I was not going to Rome. I really did have peace thinking that God’s will for me what not what I had thought and I was thankful Dr. Rice had shown me that. A few days later Dr. Rice asked me to come see him again to work out my schedule for the next year. I don’t know if that other professor had spoken to him or if he had seen how saddened I was to miss-out on this once in a

lifetime opportunity, but he said he would make an exception for me, he would waive the sequences, so I could go to Rome. He himself would do a directed study with me while I was over there. He was head of the department, he could do that. And he did. He did it for me, so I could go to the Eternal City. So I could do what in fact WAS God’s will after all. My life was changed during that semester, and I have Dr. Rice to thank for making it happen. Thank you, Dr. Rice. I know that it was through you that God worked His perfect plan for that time in my life. Thank you for your holiness; it humbled me. Thank you for your direction; it inspired me. -Jamie Spiering

Dr. Robert Rice is one of my heroes. His students must delight in his ability to take a body of information, sort it out so that it makes sense, organize it, and present it in a clear and useful form. He has done so not only for the students in his own classes, but for all the students at Christendom, with his booklets to accompany the core literature courses. They are a veritable treasure of charts, lists, illustrated instructions, diagrams, study guides, maps, time lines, definitions, examples, and just about anything else that can make the great books in that curriculum easier to understand and write about. All of these riches will continue to guide us after his retirement, of course. Professors as well as students have a great deal to thank Dr. Rice for--not only his pedagogy, but his great kindness and generosity, and we certainly do. But what he has done for me personally is beyond my power to thank him--he led me to Christendom. -Cia Linton

Hal wes þu! Nū sculon heriġean þu noman! I am sure some grammar is wrong in that – I’m sorry, I don’t have my “magic sheet” with me! Thank you for many wonderful memories, dear teacher. You taught us, comfortably ensconced in your cellar, how to sing German; you took us for walks in the forest and told us stories as a beloved grandfather. Thank you for the many times your wisdom took me to new depths in English 202, and the intricate knowledge of Old English and laughter you shared with us in the Rare Books Room. There was never a better place to write than in your attic, surrounded and inspired by wonderful books in cheerful peace. As you once gave me your blessing, so I ask God to protect and guard you now and forever. In the peace of Christ, -Rebecca Willen

Dr. Rice gave of himself joyfully to us students. He was always quick with a jolly “Hello!” treating everyone with great kindness. Thank you, Dr. Rice, for your wonderful example of Christian joy! -Matthew and Jan Akers

Thank you, Dr. Rice, for being a part of my time at Christendom. You are a wonderful teacher and you always were so giving of yourself and your time to your students, and that is such a great gift. I will always look back fondly on the classes that I had with you and all of the things that you have taught me. May God bless you for everything that you have done, and may you continue imparting your wisdom upon others even after your time at Christendom. -Leah

Dr. Robert Rice doesn’t usually beat around the bush, nor mince his words, when a point needs making. This could be a bit difficult to take if you were an insecure student; I know it was for me at least. Over time, however, I came to appreciate and value this aspect of Robert’s approach to communication. He is evidently a man of great and genuine feeling and action, and not given to subterfuge or double-speak. Clearly, it takes a certain grit to polish a surface well, and Robert’s handiwork here at Christendom -- especially evident in the sterling quality of gradutes in English Language and Literature -- will be sorely missed. -Doug B.

I had an instant connection to Dr. Rice and Mrs. Rice when I learned that they -- like my own parents -- were Ducks who spent their early married life on the University of Oregon campus. Being one of just a few Christendom West Coasters at the time, it was a connection that meant a lot to me. After I began focusing on an English Literature major, Dr. Rice became a mentor as well as one of my primary instructors. He encouraged my writing abilities -- and actually liked many of my papers -- even while accusing me once of writing like a feature reporter in PARADE Magazine. Now that I’m an attorney, I particularly appreciate the disciplined approach Dr. Rice took to writing. Feature story writers, it turns out, have a tough time transforming into legal writers. I will always remember the great English major parties Dr. Rice hosted each year, complete with recitations of sonnets, the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales (in Middle English, of course), and the Pyramus and Thisbe play-with-a-play from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Speaking of the Bard, my favorite Dr. Rice courses were those on Shakespeare’s plays. I think back to the fascinating discussions we had during those classes with particular fondness each April 23rd. Other fond memories of Dr. Rice include his reminders to SLOW DOWN as I drove on campus, and his tenacity in making it to class even in the midst of a blizzard when none of the other professors were willing to make the trek. I never had the opportunity to spend a character-forming Saturday morning on work crew under Dr. Rice’s watchful eye, and I’m sure I would have been better off for the experience. I’m sorry to hear that Dr. Rice is retiring this year, but I’m happy to have had the opportunity to learn all that I did from him. Thank you, Dr. Rice! -Christopher Young ‘97

I am a historian, and for as long as I can remember, the critique and study of literature for its own sake has not interested me. Yet when I think of Dr. Rice, I think of the one man who was able to teach me the significance of literature. His enthusiasm, incredible understanding, and immense love of the students represents an example forever etched into my mind as one of the most influential examples of professorial instruction I have ever experienced. I remember my final class with him, where we read and discussed (among others) the authors Dostoyevsky, Milton, and Dante. Our meetings involved laughter, descending into the mind of the author and his intentions, whether amusing or serious. On occasion, Dr. Way, teaching in the next classroom over, would raise his voice to distracting levels as Dr. Rice tried to direct our discussion. Finally, Dr. Rice gave in to the distraction, abruptly turning to the wall of the neighboring classroom, and raising his voice to great volume, saying: “I WILL OUT-SHOUT YOU!!� You can imagine that us students were immensely amused and refreshed by his ability to keep the classroom both profitable and lighthearted. As he passes into retirement, I would like to wish him the very best, beyond which he deserves so much more with respect to the immense contributions he has made to both my education and the education of so many others. To me, there is no doubt that Dr. Rice represents one of the most exemplary servants of Christendom, and for this, there is no satisfactory amount of gratitude which can be dispensed to him. God Bless. -Christopher Martin, Class of 2007

I beg everyone’s’ leave to depart from the anecdotal and humorous nature of those testimonials which can be so characterized to speak in a more serious vein about Robert’s contribution to the College. I would like to join my voice to those extending hearty congratulations to Dr. Robert Rice on the occasion of his retirement from his long career of 32 years of teaching and serving in the administration at Christendom College. And I thank him for his untiring efforts to assure the firm commitment of the College to its founding vision of a thoroughly Catholic, academically excellent liberal arts formation of lay apostles who would take their place in the construction of a second Christendom in the public order. From his beginning year in the fall of 1981 and throughout his tenure here he provided invaluable contributions to maintaining this vision, of which he always manifested thorough understanding and with which he was in complete agreement. All of the founders knew that Dr. Carroll had chosen well in adding Robert to the faculty. It was reassuring at that fragile time in the College’s early development to know that Robert was in full harmony with the founding ideals and mission. His long and competent service as Academic Dean and Director of Academic Affairs, and his wise and knowledgeable contributions to the deliberations of the Faculty Senate and to the Curriculum Committee were of great importance to the development of the College’s growth. His vision of a coherent liberal formation of the students was invaluable. He consistently and effectively opposed any proposals that would dilute the College’s academic orientation to the liberal arts or introduce technical or career oriented courses of study. His role in developing the English Dept curriculum, especially its portion of the Core Curriculum, certainly one of the best in nation, was of signal importance to stabilizing the Core literature component, and assured the students of obtaining an excellent formation in the canon of western literature. Also Robert must be thanked and commended for his long work in constructing the Christendom Trail, which provides a safe and beautiful hiking path on the College’s own ground. Countless students have found re-

laxation and exercise along its way. Roberts’s devotion to the well-being of the College is also evident in his efforts to beautify the campus, both in helping his devoted wife Mary Alice in her landscaping efforts and in exhorting the students to maintain clean grounds and pick up trash. I sincerely thank him for all he has done for Christendom, of which only the Lord knows the cost, and wish him many years of blissful retirement. -Ray O’Herron

Ad Multos Annos!

Restoring All Things in Christ

Tributes to Dr. Robert Rice  
Tributes to Dr. Robert Rice  

On the occasion of his retirement in 2013.